Goals of the Performance Review

Learn about the importance of formal reviews for the employees' growth and the management's perception of that employee.

Part of the reason for all the stress around the formal review is that it, and it alone, is what goes on record to justify whatever comes next for your employee (promotion, raise, bonus, demotion, termination, etc.) The formal review is often the only official feedback the company recognizes between the manager and the employee, and is often the only message your second- and third-level managers above you will receive about the members of your team. If you give your employee nothing but positive feedback, but then offer up criticism in the formal review, your boss’ boss’ boss will have a distinctly different opinion (in the negative) of that employee than you do. Similarly, if your 1:1s are consistently corrective, but you offer a positive formal review, the company will have some serious questions for you when you ask to have this employee removed from your team or the company. Remember that all the feedback sessions you engage in with your employees are, by definition, informal and off-the-record; the record only tracks the formal reviews.

In some companies, as a matter of fact, it’s not uncommon for raises and bonuses to be applied only after the performance review is conducted and filed. In other words, once you’ve written your performance review, it circulates to your senior leadership, who will then review the reviews and use that as guidance for this past cycle’s bonuses and/or raises, as well as the next cycle’s goals. In such situations, you will not necessarily have full control over your review, and likely not have the power to grant bonuses or raises, only recommendations for such.

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